‘They’re going to kill my son.’ It still echoed in Alex’s mind, Burrow’s broken voice as he’d said it. Alex had a son too. He knew of the anguish and fear. It explained Burrow’s erratic behavior and Michael’s obsession with time.
“They want Michael to break Whistler out or they’ll kill your boy?” He asked and Burrows nodded.
“That about sums it up.” It was bad for him, but Alex couldn’t bring himself to care beyond the similarities with his own case, back in the States. The company had threatened Cameron. God knows what they could still do. He wasn’t about to jeopardize his family for this fugitive.
“What is it that you want from me?” He did wonder. It wasn’t as if he could break Michael and Whistler out.
“I don’t know. You’re the expert; think of something.”
Alex snorted. He was hungry; maybe he could get Burrows to bring some food as well. “It isn’t that easy. I would need details and you’ll need manpower.”
Burrows practically vibrated with a mix of anger and total devastation. It told Alex all he needed to know; this was it, he had nobody else.
“I’ve got Sucre and the bitch from the Company. There’s Whistler’s girlfriend, but she could be more trouble than help.”
Burrows needed somebody to talk with, obviously. The man was desperate. Alex saw a small light at the end of the dark tunnel. “What happened to Sara?” He asked softly.
Burrows turned, didn’t look him in the eye. Instead he asked briskly, “you’ve got feeling in your hands again?” Alex didn’t answer directly because he was a bit thrown by the renewed anger in Burrows’ voice. Burrows didn’t wait and roughly grabbed Alex’s arms; tying one hand behind his back, looser this time, the other hand was given a bit of freedom with the rope going around his legs and the chair.
“I’ll get you some food.” Burrows groused as he exited before Alex’s sluggish mind found something to say.
Alex was trying to get out of the ropes. He had been trying for some time now, but they wouldn’t give. Even with the extra freedom Burrows had given him, there was no way he was getting out. His wrists hurt and he still had not an inch of progress to show for his efforts. It figured Burrows knew how to tie a knot.
His head snapped up when the door banged opened so loudly that he expected it to fly out off the hinges. Burrows barged in, straight at him. He grabbed Alex by his shirt, pushed him, chair and all, to the back of the cabin and slammed him against the wall behind him. He did this without a hint of effort.
The pure fury told Alex he could be in deep shit when a fist slammed into his stomach and the famous Burrows’ anger he’d read about rained down on him in a flurry of fists and open hands. It was over in seconds, but Alex was bleeding and hurting bad. The only comfort was that he was already hurting, so it wasn’t a new feeling; just a bit worse.
Burrows was pacing again; a caged panther out for a kill, but without the capability to do so. Alex tasted the blood in his mouth, his tongue feeling his teeth, making sure nothing was loose. He was sure his jaw was bruised now; his face was probably turning into something resembling his general state of being.
Burrows hit the wall with his fist, shaking Alex out of his physical check. It went on for a couple of minutes until the fist bled a lot more than Alex’s split lip. Burrows turned then, back to the wall, and let himself slide down. They shared a single look and then the man closed his eyes. Alex continued to stare at him, trying to gauge his state of mind, but gave up after Burrows made no move to get back in the game.
“Did I break anything?” Burrows finally said after a long time.
Alex had shot glances at him, but was staring at the small cracks of light in the wall when he heard the voice. He looked up again. Weary eyes, one of which was puffing up rapidly, met defeated ones. Then Burrows turned his gaze away as if he was ashamed.
“No, I don’t think so.” Alex tried to sound as nonchalant as possible, but his voice quavered a bit. He was aware that he was probably close to a mother of a breakdown. He couldn’t even escape if he got the chance and the only real opportunity he had at all lay with a man who could easily beat the crap out of him at will and kill him for kicks. And now, the last bit of strength Alex had had was effectively beaten out of him by those two hammers Burrows called fists.
“They cut off her head because I didn’t follow orders. I tried to break her out.” Burrows said in a low voice, breaking slightly. “They sent her head to me in a box. I don’t know how to tell Michael.”
Alex let out a breath of air as if he’d been punched again. That was rough; maybe he would have reacted like Burrows had. He was caught between a rock and a hard place with nowhere to go, exactly where Alex was as well.
“I’m sorry.” He whispered.
Burrows glanced at him. “Are you really?”
Alex didn’t know much, but he did regret the doctor’s death. He even regretted most of the killings he was responsible for. Apolskis and Patoshik came to mind.
“Yes I am. The people who… died by my hand, it was necessary, but I didn’t enjoy it. I don’t enjoy seeing people die and suffer.”
Burrows puffed out a hiccup of a laugh. “How was it necessary? Like that company bitch felt it was necessary to kill Sara?”
Alex shook his head. “People like that kill hostages for shock value, making sure you understand what they can do, keeping you under control. I killed because I had to, just like you would do anything for your son.”
He could see the denial in the man’s eyes, so he added, “if it could save your son you would execute me right now. You’d hate it, feel miserable and sick. You’d probably carry it with you all of your life, hampering your sleep, your existence, but you’d do it.”
Burrows dragged a hand across his face and stood slowly, as if he was the one hurting from a beating. “Maybe, but only to protect my son, not to protect my hide or my career.”
It figured Scofield would have shared his thoughts with his brother, but Alex didn’t care anymore. He didn’t deny it either.
“These people killed my ex-girlfriend, my ex-wife…they won’t stop, Mahone. You need to take some responsibility for this too.”
Alex didn’t know what to say. He’d only started to think about this company a few days ago. In a way beyond his own problems that is.
Burrows moved towards the door and said almost soberly, “I’ve got a first aid kit in my car. I’ll go get it. Do you want a sandwich?”
Alex nodded and let his eyes follow the man as he exited the meager cabin again.
Burrows was back within minutes and true to his word he carried a kit and a big, brown paper bag. “Here.” Burrows spoke softly, but roughly. “I’ll cut you lose, you can do the rest yourself.” He threw the paper bag at Alex’s feet and put the kit next to him on the small wooden table that had held his bottle of water before.
Burrows pulled out a knife and cut him loose. Circulation began to flow again and cause some pain in his legs and arms. “You can walk if you want. I’ll just sit over there until you’re done.”
Alex couldn’t exactly walk. It took quite some time to get feeling back in all of his limbs. The process hurt and he tried to minimize the pain by flexing his arms and legs slightly, one by one. He picked up the paper bag and found a simple wrapped sandwich as well as some water. Burrows was sitting on his chair, watching him. Alex would have been self-conscious about that if he wasn’t quite so low. He couldn’t begin to think about anything else when he had food and water in his hands. When he’d eaten the sandwich and slowly drank his water, he felt like he resembled a bit of a human being again. “Go and take a leak, back room; there is a toilet you can use. Leave the door open.” Burrows suddenly said.
A toilet? Alex hadn’t thought of that.
It wasn’t that he had to go and Alex didn’t want to humiliate himself like that either. On the other hand his body gave him so many mixed signals that he wasn’t sure if he really didn’t need to use a toilet. Soiling himself later definitely wasn’t an option. So he tried to stand slowly and almost fell. Burrows didn’t make a move to help him.
He shuffled towards the small room in which he saw something more closely resembling a bowl with a hole in it than a toilet. Although the cabin looked like it hadn’t been cleaned for some time, the toilet itself wasn’t that dirty. He opened his fly and relieved himself. It wasn’t much, he had hardly drunk anything at all, but it was something. Enough to have given him trouble later on.
He turned when he was done to see Burrows watching him closely, eyes shifting downwards as Alex put his cock back in and zipped up. Alex waited; disgusted that he couldn’t wash his hand as Burrows said “Go and fix yourself up.” For a moment, Alex started to resent it. He wanted to spit something back. That he wasn’t a dog to listen to commands, but he tried to let go of his anger in favor of survival.
Burrows must have seen him clenching his jaw however, because he said, “Don’t give me that, man. You’re the bad guy, I’m the good guy. I’m giving you something here.”
Alex snorted as he opened the kit with unsteady hands. The gauze was tied up in a tight roll and he tried to pry it open. It slipped from his hands after his fourth try.
Burrows practically jumped up.
“Fuck’s sake,” He growled and picked up the gauze as he put a hand on Alex’s shoulder. “Sit down.” Alex could hardly do anything else when the man pushed him down without patience. “Wait here.” Burrows slammed the gauze on the table and walked to the other room. “Don’t get any ideas, Mahone. Don’t move.” Alex had no idea what to expect but realized Burrows meant he didn’t want him to escape. Yeah, like he could as he was now.
Before he could have contemplated everything, Burrows was back with a brown bowl of water and a washing cloth. The ones he saw his grandmother use. “Don’t get the wrong ideas about this. Wash your face, get that grime and blood off and I’ll bandage you up.”
The bowl found a spot next to the kit and gauze and Burrows went back to his chair, watching Alex. Alex moved lethargically, he realized this, but that was what pain could do to a body. He took the washing cloth, immersed it in the water and put it to his face. It felt wonderful. The coolness of the water and the idea of getting clean for just a little bit caused a swell of emotion. He closed his eyes against it as his hand stilled on his face.
“Mahone?” Burrows said. It didn’t sound kind, but not cruel either. It didn’t sound like anything.
“Yes, just give me a moment,” he said and didn’t receive an answer so he assumed Burrows understood. It surprised him that Burrows gave him that moment, that minute to feel civilized, reasonably human.
He moved his hand now, across his face, his neck and arms. He hesitated for a moment, but then put the cloth back and opened his shirt.
“I don’t need the floor show, Mahone.” Burrows commented.
“I need to clean up, right? My chest, I-” A shiver wracked his body as the chill touched his uncovered flesh. He stoically took the washcloth again and put it to use. His eyes moved to Burrows who still watched his every move.
They sat like that. Watching each other, each of them on opposite sides of the room, as Alex’s hand roamed across his chest. “Do you have a towel?” He dared ask when he was done.
He didn’t get an answer, but Burrows stood, disappeared from sight into the backroom and appeared again. He threw an old, threadbare piece of cloth resembling a towel to Alex. “This is not a hotel,” Burrows groused.
Alex didn’t bother answering and dried his chest without putting too much pressure on his bruises and cuts.
Burrows was closer now, standing in front of him, still watching. When Alex’s hand stilled, Burrows took the towel from him and threw it behind him. He picked up the gauze, got it open in one try and tore a piece off with his mouth. Without a word, he started to bandage Alex’s arm, his hand and part of his chest. He used salve as well and although he wasn’t exactly caressing Alex, he wasn’t rough either. Alex couldn’t remember the last time he had another human being touching him with something akin to kindness. That it was Burrows, a man he was ordered to hunt and kill, who did this made it all even more surreal. He wasn’t sure what to think.
He had a feeling Burrows was thinking something along those lines as well. The large hands went so mesmerizingly slow that Alex got goose bumps as Burrows poured care on Alex’s skin. Mending what he had broken before.
“You just can’t stop killing people, can you? Michael said you killed a guy in Sona” Burrows spoke softly as he backed off, salve still in hand, using it on his own wound from hitting the wall.
Alex put his shirt back on. “Yes, I killed a man in Sona. Did Michael tell you why?”
Burrows put the salve back in the kit and shook his head. “No, but I’m sure you’ve got a story ready.”
Alex shrugged and realized too late that such an action hurt his already bruised body. “You wouldn’t believe any of it. Ask your brother.”
Burrows rested his hands on the kit, a piece of gauze in his hands. He wasn’t looking at Alex. He was probably thinking. It made Alex uneasy. Was the man going to hit him again? Or tie him up to leave him here for another night filled with terror?
“I... we need your help. I can’t do it alone.”
Alex was impressed. He’d never believed Burrows could utter words like that, even though he believed them to be necessary. The entire build up before the forced kindness; was Burrows trying to manipulate him?
“There are too many variables, according to Michael. He only has a short time to come up with this plan and once on the outside… I don’t know how’s he’s going to react at Sara’s death and my son-” A hint of defeat came back into Burrows’ voice, making it crack a little, and for just a moment Alex felt something akin to sympathy. He didn’t want to.
“I can’t help you.” Alex said without even thinking. Burrows head snapped up, looking at him with anger already creeping back on his face. “They’ll kill my family if I save yours.”
Author's Chapter Notes:
As always, beta by Foxriverinmate